Thursday, October 20, 2011
Smokemont Campground GSMNP
Monday we made the short tow to Smokemont at the Southern edge of GSMNP, near Cherokee. The drive was easy and the last few miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway were downhill through the lower elevations where the colors were still grand – rich yellows and a nice mix of reds from the black gum and maples.
We settled into our site and quickly introduced ourselves to the other Airstream couple, Richard and Judy Messer. Great folks and lots of fun. Both have lived near the park all their lives and have great stories.
We fished the first night with no success; the water is really low. The next day we hiked Bradley Fork Trail, but passed so much likely water that Pat wanted to get back early and fish. Better success with “the black foam beetle.”
Then the rain, and then the COLD with ominous warnings about high winds and perhaps snow flurries. We have been reading and making up excuses to drive somewhere and “shop”. In Gatlinburg we found that the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has become another North Face/Life is Good haberdashery and had little we needed. Sadly the Happy Hiker Shop is no more. We did find an old friend managing the Wesser NOC store and had a nice time catching up.
We visited Ken Jenkins’ Gallery “Beneath the Mist” to look at all the wonderful nature photographs. I wish we had a large space to hang some of these, but we now have a few notecards hanging in the Stream. Yes we did walk the entire length of Gatlinburg’s sidewalks IN THE RAIN and, yes, it is even worse in so many, many ways when afoot. There are, however, some pleasant eddies in the stream of tackiness. We took a table by the fire at Legends and had a sandwich and glorious warm bread pudding. It was the best we had ever had until the next day when we dined Riverside at the NOC (and wondered why we never had been there before.) The desert offering there was Cranberry/Walnut Bread Pudding served in a large ramekin heaped with premium ice cream.
Each night we (and a select hundred or more passing cars) watch the Elk at the Oconaluftee Fields. Pat hasn’t finished naming them all yet, but work is progressing. The turkeys which guard our generator behind the trailer are “Albert” & “The guy who bats after him.” Go Cards.